Hoping to share the love, joy, and grace I have received in my own life.

Accepting differences

on June 12, 2015

After Trevor’s death, a few people have felt compelled to tell my husband, Jeff, and I that statistics show a great percentage of marriages fail following the death of a child.  Some of those were sincere people wanting to warn us so that we might take extra care of ourselves, as a married couple.  Others seemed to be giving us a heads up, as if they were certain we would head to divorce court at any time.

There are many reasons for divorce. Although I have not been through my own divorce, I have witnessed many of friends and family close to me. Although I am certainly not an authority on divorce, Jeff and I celebrated our 21st anniversary in December and I do know a little about marriage. I completely understand why couples that suffer the loss of a child divorce frequently. Differences in the way two people grieve can bring a great strain to a marriage. If one person is moving forward and the other experiences complicated grief, the relationship can become difficult.

Jeff and I past our 18th wedding anniversary without much thought. It came and went the day following Trevor’s death.  The next three anniversaries have been quiet, but important to us both. Here we are. Our marriage is better today than it has ever been. We didn’t have a bad marriage before, but we certainly haven’t had a perfect marriage. We have fought. We have irritated each other. We have differences…many, many differences. That is one of the things that I admire most about our marriage. We seem to balance each other out perfectly.

Our differences make our marriage one of a great variety of characteristics, opinions, and knowledge. Together we become more than either of us would be individually.  We have learned to celebrate our differences, including the extremely different ways that we each grieve.

As I sit on our deck this morning and watch the beautiful sunrise, a thought comes to mind. The sunrise is so beautiful, majestic even. I thank God for the beautiful sunrise and feel blessed that it was painted just perfectly this morning. Today’s sunrise is not the same as another sunrise and I wouldn’t think of asking God to change the difference of this sunrise to any other. I appreciate the individual beauty, the differences of each sunrise. Why would I want to change my husband to be more like me?

God creates each of us perfectly. With our free will, as we go through this life, we each experience different things. We are able to have our own thoughts, habits, and personalities. Thank goodness! The gift of being able to celebrate our differences and to see that what we each bring to our marriage has been a blessing to us both.  Our gift of love for each other and the accepting grace we both give makes our marriage one of great strength.

In her novel, Christy, author Catherine Marshall wrote, “I’d long since learned that no difference in viewpoint should ever be allowed to cause the least break in love. But relationships can be kept intact without compromising one’s beliefs.  And if we do not keep them intact, but gave up and allow the chasm, we’re breaking the second greatest commandment.”

Today my prayer is one of gratitude. I am thankful for the way that my marriage is balanced by the differences between my husband and myself.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7



One response to “Accepting differences

  1. Diana stienmetz says:

    Dana thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: